Do Yoga Every Day of January! Day 31.

31. Wednesday 31 January.  Here we are! I did True Day 29 – Be Brave, my final yoga of January out on the deck this morning listening to the clatter of rubbish collection, plenty of birds, and Ella noisily eating a cicada.

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Super helpful, thanks babe

I was a little stiff, a little creaky, I’ve been working long hours these last few days (and nights), but I didn’t mind, I knew it’d pass and to start slowly. I’m well aware of the ups and downs and the gentle bits and the fierce bits of the game by now.

So I just did yoga every day of January (except for the 13th – but I’ve done two yoga’s on a bunch of days, so I reckon it evens out 🙂 ). I guess I should try and share what I’ve learnt?

  • I can do yoga. This may seem really obvious, but as I wrote back in my first ever blog about yoga, I have always self-identified as “terrible at yoga”. My whole life I had experienced yoga as this completely obnoxiously out of reach thing, that only people who were already good at it would ever do. I was freaked out by the idea that to do yoga you had to have flexible hips, flexible… everything else and be willing to float around sensing mystical energy fields (or at least talking about them). I have no issue with anyone who wants to talk about sensing mystical energy fields, but they’re not really part of my life or area of interest. Turns out that you can totally do those things, and equally validly not do those things, and still do yoga. Turns out getting on the mat, sitting cross legged, closing your eyes and breathing for a while can absolutely count as yoga. Turns out if you do that, it seems easier to carry on with some poses than stop once you’ve started.
  • I can do yoga every day. This is another super obvious one, but like, even if you can do yoga how do you actually know you can do yoga every day until you try to do yoga every day? What if there’s a mysterious wizard that appears when you get out your mat and tries to fight you until you sit back down on the couch? What if there’s some secret formula of kombucha, crop tops and mantras that you need, and without it you are sure to fail? I learned that there is no mysterious wizard or secret formula; just really ordinary things. Getting up and doing something is harder than not getting up and doing it, your muscles get sore, some days you’re tired, some days you feel gross, some days your chronic pain is bad, some days you’d rather get rip roaringly drunk, some days you can’t be bothered. All of these things are valid reasons not to do yoga every day, and they’re also all super unexceptional. There’s nothing mystical about them, and there’s nothing mystical about doing it anyway.
  • It doesn’t matter what it looks like. I think this is more important than finding out that I personally can, right now, do yoga every day. There have been lots of times over the past four years when I would not have been able to do this due to my physical health,and that’s also ok. It’s also ok not to go from a long time of being unwell to perfection. To achieve doing it every day, I had to realise that yoga looks like lots of things. Over this month it has looked like amazing progress, things I had no idea I could achieve, beautiful poses, impressive shapes – and it has also looked like lying on my mat in child’s pose for 20 minutes to see if I can work up the energy to do more, falling over, sitting down for 7 minutes of sleepy stuff instead of a full routine, altering routines to cater for injuries and pain, falling asleep on my mat. It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes of fast dynamic flow. It doesn’t have to be straight legs and perfect balances without wobbles and flat tummies that don’t hang over the top of your leggings when you try and breathe through a vague approximation of an asshole of a pose that you absolutely cannot do. Knowing that even lying down grumpy sore yoga is still yoga makes a big difference in being able to do it.
  • Things change fast. Seriously, in both directions. No two days are the same, no two sides are the same, expectations are pointless, and surprises are fun.
  • It helps. When I’m sore, when I’m anxious, or sad, or tired, or restless, I’ve started to think “I bet there’s a yoga for that.” I’ve gone to the breathing to help me through mentally and physically hard stuff. I’ve started taking myself through a little neck and shoulder routine before bed to help me sleep without pain. When I’m stiff and sore in the morning or after a run or a big day, I want to get on the mat because I know it might be harder than usual but it will definitely help.
  • I can do other stuff. I’ve been able to run (over 100kms this year! My first race! PB times! No running injuries!) I’ve recovered from hard work faster, I have more awareness of my core, balance, breathing, body mechanics, endurance.
  • I want to carry on. I’ve got other challenges to meet as the year carries on. I want to cut my 10k time down, I want to run my first half marathon, I want to do FAWM and Handstand February and other strange challenges, and I want to keep exploring and seeing what happens with yoga. Time to finish off True tomorrow, then the 30 day challenge, Yoga Camp, and Revolution. Then… who knows.
  • Crop tops are awesome and there may not be a secret formula but I wish I could do everything in my underwear forever but I suppose activewear will have to do, activewear 5ever no regerts.
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I can do this.

 

 

 

Do Yoga Every Day of January! Days 26-30

26. Friday 26 January. Fridayyyyyyyyy! Happy little solid work-from-home Friday. There was the tiniest break in the oppressive heat and I woke up to the sound of rain, so decided to go straight out and try my new, longer loop while it was still cool. It was going great until I hit a loose patch of muddy gravel on a downhill section of the Zealandia track and went ass over tit, landing with my right leg bent up behind me and sliding down while making a very embarrassing squawk. Thankfully there was no one around, except my dog who could not have given less of a fuck.

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Oh cool yea I don’t care

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FALLING DOWN A HILL IN MY ACTIVEWEAR

I assessed the damage and (though I was tempted to limp on home) decided I was mostly just muddy and a bit bruised, and should carry on.

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North from the Polhill Gun Emplacements, 25 Jan 2018

Made it around the rest of the 5k being as careful as I could, gave the dog another go at chasing her dreams (rabbits – she still sucks) and then forced her to have a shower which always makes her pathetic and shivery and then absolutely bananas for the next hour as she tears around the house like a feral mini-wolf. Got loads done today – social media, transcription, marketing, emails, all the fun stuff – and even attempted a low GI samosa/rice/curry thingy – I think it could have potential!

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Greens what I grew in my garden!

I did True Day 24 – Be Kind, which I was really grateful for, because after a tumble-slide down a hill I needed some kindness (and a short practice). My knee was too sore from the fall to sit cross legged comfortably, so I sent both legs out long and wide and got more of a core workout instead. Adriene is right that sometimes stopping and being chill is sometimes the hardest, harder than the dynamic physical days. Especially after my little mental stumble yesterday! So it was really nice to do. I’m loving having nice clothes to wear while I run and stretch too, it makes a huge difference not having to adjust or wriggle or hope that things don’t rip. All calm and happy (baby), I went out to work – it was Speakeasy social dance night at the studio, and it was awesome! I am usually a bit freaked out by the big dance social events – so many people, so many conversations, it’s not my strongest environment – but it was quite lovely in the end and with the balance between making sure the dog was ok, having conversations and doing some dancing it was fun and a nice way to kick off the year.

27. Saturday 27 January. I got home after midnight, and because my partner is doing a blitz on their awesome video game project this weekend I woke up super early and couldn’t get back to sleep. I decided it was a good excuse to get into the coffee and get to work, so I knocked out a bunch of transcription as fast as I could, then I dithered for about 10 years because I had three social events to go to that day and was feeling low on spoons and anxious, and it was bloody hot. I convinced myself to go to the first one in the end and was so so glad to see friends on a special occasion! Ella even met a Bichon Frise and didn’t try to murder it (She is embarrassingly bigoted against small fluffy dogs). I even made it to the second one – the final ever performance of Summer Star Trek! I’m so sad to see it go! I’ve been going every year it’s been on, it’s such a part of my Wellington feels.

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Summer Star Trek feat. Ella’s Boyfriend Captain Kirk

We got a whole armful of tribbles to take home for Ella and she went for “attack, then cuddle in bed” which was ridiculously cute. I was so out of spoons after that I didn’t make it to the third thing. I’m quite proud of myself though. I’m working really hard on being more out there, friendly, social, present, this year.

Since I was so busy I didn’t have time to go on a hill run, but I ran my trip down to town to drop Ella off, and then to take her home after Summer Star Trek, so obviously I did it in two parts, but it was a round trip of 5.2km, with the whole way back being ridiculously uphill. I did (the trip home) in 28 minutes which is the fastest I have EVER done that journey, it’s honestly just a giant mountain!

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A giant mountain with pretty steps

I also realised that with the 5 today and the 5 yesterday, I have cracked 100km far this year! We celebrated with homemade burgers and chip shop chips, a glass of wine and some more Star Trek, then I did more work, and finally, when my brain gave up, closed out the day with yoga – True Day 25, Be Aware. I was very aware – aware of how exhausted I was! And how full of burger and chips I was. And bleeerrrrgh. I don’t remember too much of it except all of my joints making hideous popping noises every time I moved, but I did the whole thing including the planks, dolphin pose, the gorgeous cross legged stretches at the end, and then… I fell asleep. On my mat. I was rudely awakened by youtube starting an obnoxiously loud ad, and went to bed like a zombie!

28. Sunday 28 January. Tired day, sleepy day, coffee and too much food day. I’ve had a hungry weekend, probably from tiredness, but it’s so hot that when I eat the food I immediately feel gross forever. Got stuck into the transcription, headed down to drop dog (ran it in 15 minutes!), ran back (ALL THE WAY UP THE HILL IN 21 MINUTES WHICH IS SOME KIND OF OLYMPIC RECORD) and then headed off to do a super secret squirrel comedy thing (I recorded a set for VR! VR! I’m finally gonna be in THREE DEEEEEEE!) which was a heap of fun. For someone who’s not doing comedy anymore I’m doing a heck of a lot of comedy!

True day 26 – Be still. Why why why is the last thing I ever want to do “be still”? The single nostril pranayama at the beginning was familiar to me from the yoga for anxiety video which I’ve done way too many times to admit, so that was a nice thing to come back to and remember how much it sets off that stillness. I don’t mind being physically still and holding poses, even tricky poses (volcano was fun! 10 toes up!) but I struggle more with how my mind goes haywire. I have never been good at silent, still meditation – I know people swear by it for ADHD, but I swear it sets me off – my mind is a very loud place, and I’ve always found clarity in that noise by “channel blocking” – that is, using multiple sources of stimulation to take care of some of the excess processing so that I can focus on one thing. I play music when I’m working (sometimes multiple songs at the same time – and when I’m super anxious, like a whole Nina Hagen album at once. This is a trick a dear friend of mine gave me, and MultiHagen has got me through some shit), I think best when I’m cleaning, or walking, or running, or exercising, or even interpreting – I achieve the “calm, quiet, still mind” that seems to be the eternal goal by keeping all the gremlins busy so I can have some space to myself. If I sit still and quiet, well – the gremlins come along with their horrendous songs, banging pots together, screaming about what I haven’t done, what I need to do, what I did once, what I saw that one day when I was like 9 – and it drives me to distraction. The longer I sit the louder it gets. This doesn’t happen when I’m hyper-focused, when I’m thinking deeply about something and staring into space lost in my thoughts (I love those random trips) but it does happen when I try and force “stillness”. I’ve always hated being told to sit, look and listen. It’s a surefire way to make sure I don’t hear a thing. SO! Today, inviting stillness, the gremlins came and (alongside singing the same 3 bars of my current favourite song over and over to try and make me hate it) started asking questions, like am you sure that you’re not being delusional here? Like… you are NOT a yoga person. No offense, you just don’t…look like one or bend like one, you saw that video of the bendy one today you can’t do that you’re not being very mindful are you, you just did that movement super weird and lazy. You probably won’t get to a point where you can do it properly, if you’ve already started slacking off. Are you sure you haven’t hit the peak of your progress and now you just plateau forever? Are you aware that you might have eaten too much today and so this entire thing is kind of pointless? I dunno about you but this doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything at all. Is this even a yoga routine or are you just standing around? Stop fidgeting! Ohhh there we go you are not good at lizard, we knew that. Guess that’s you done. You should write this in a story. OOOOH or a list of other things! You should try all of Adriene’s videos even the non yoga ones and just make reaction videos to like, tea and mat spray that would be less tryhard. Or more tryhard. God, that awful video you saw today, don’t do that. Oops you didn’t do those three things you just remembered. WRITE THIS DOWN NOW YOU’LL FORGET. What was it? List the things I can’t remember LIST THEM ok thanks WRITE THEM DOWN! NO! BE STILL NOW! BE STILL. You are bad at being still.

I stood still anyway and did all the things, and maybe physical stillness is not my strength but there’s no point in not trying it and giving it equal space, and an equal chance. And then after I finished I jumped into dolphin pose and stuck my butt out at the gremlins so there. 28 days down.

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29. Monday 29 January. Up and at ’em, basically. I didn’t sleep very well but on the plus side that means I was wide awake early (ish) and ready to start my day! Some genius (me) had the foresight to put my leftover smoothie in the fridge with chia seeds, so I chomped that with some peanut butter and finished off a piece of transcription work, walked for a couple of hours in the ridiculous sun delivering fliers and listening to Buffering the Vampire Slayer (yessssssssss), had a lunch meeting in my weird lesbian soccer mom outfit because I’m a posh businessman, continued to smash smash smash the admin, and then taught my classes in the million degree heat.

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Unabashed cafe selfie in my activewear (not pictured but present: snapback and bumbag combo)

I am pretty sick of being alternately slimy and sticky to the touch. COOL DOWN, BRO. No runs today, no no. Too hot and busy. My abdominal pain suddenly amped up during classes and was a bit awful, so I foetal positioned for a while when I got home but decided that if yoga didn’t kill it me it would make me stronger. Up and at ’em again! True Day 27 – Be Free was pretty cool, I feel like the “catch a wave” breath thing worked for the first time during the vinyasa flow from chaturanga up to upward facing dog and back? It was interesting. I also started to figure out some hip alignment stuff that make a long of the poses both harder and easier. Unlike Shakira, my hips lie a lot. I like that I can feel myself getting better at doing yoga, at showing up and getting through, and building strength and trusting my balance and muscles – and yet it’s all still really hard, tricky, there’s heaps to learn and do. There are only two days left of January. I’ve almost done it. This is super weird. Thankfully there are still four days left of True, 11 days left of 30 Days of Yoga, and then TWO OTHER YEARS’ WORTH of 30 day January challenges to get through. What am I supposed to do after that, join a class? Weird.

30. Tuesday 30 January. !!!!!!!! DAY 30 !!!!!!!!!! Who what when where why how? I did the yoga for neck and shoulder relief last night before bed to try and get a better sleep, and put a rolled up towel under my neck, and it definitely helped. Pup and I were ready to face the morning.

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So with coffee under my belt and the air con most definitely on, I decided to start the day with True Day 28 – Be Fearless. I still can’t get over how wobbly my right leg is compared to my left, both in lunges and things like warrior 3 which I totally achieved today btw NBD. The least natural thing in the world to me is yogi squat but I’m managing it, I’m sitting it, and it was amusing how hard I found it to figure out where my knees were meant to sit in crow pose and then I finally did and was so exuberant I immediately fell on my face and laughed a lot. Puppy mostly hung out with her tribble.

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Well! 30 days… only one day of January left. See you tomorrow 🙂

Days of Yoga so far in 2018: 29

Days missed: 1

Kms run or hill walked/hiked so far in 2018: 107

Do Yoga Every Day of January! Days 21-25

21. Sunday 21 January. I put my money where my mouth is, put my $10 down, and ran my first 10k race.

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This is my race face

The Wellington Harrier Athletic Club is awesome enough to hold a 5 and 10k race every month in summer around the waterfront called The Honest 10. I literally only found out about it yesterday, and figured why not. I had no idea what my baseline was, had never attempted to run a time (or even time myself) and “tomorrow” is as good a day as any! I wasn’t so sure when I woke up pretty early after not quite enough sleep – but I had anticipated my morning lizard brain and laid out all my clothes and gear on the couch ready to go so I just had to grab a snack and a coffee and get out the door. The race unfortunately has the most inconvenient starting place (the wind needle in Evans Bay) so I had to walk to town and grab an uber from there (I wasn’t quite early enough for the bus).

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The weather did not look ominous at all

Got there, registered, found some other nervous people who’d never done the run before, and then since I was relatively early (I took the 8.15am registration time for a 9am start seriously), I settled in to do my yoga under a tree looking out over the marina. I honestly think this yoga practice is the one I am most proud of in the whole month so far – it was my first “off book” self directed one! And I felt confident and comfortable and a sense of ease and familiarity with what I needed right then to get ready physically and mentally to run. I won’t list the whole thing, but I did some breathing to start, and carried on into some really calm breathy twists and a basic flow with lots of low lunges, twists, lizard, extended side angles, peaceful warrior and nice calm folds. It was super lovely to practice in the open air and just feel my way through it, decide which muscles wanted attention as I went, and just loosen everything up. I felt surprisingly calm!

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Worst yoga view ever

The race had pace setters for 40, 45, 50, and 55 minutes, and I decided my goal was basically to see if I could do under an hour, so I just set my sights on the 55 minute pace setter and off we went!  Turns out he was a really cool guy, and I kept pace super happily as we ran; we chatted about our lives and running histories, old injuries, other hobbies. I was pretty happy with the fact I was keeping pace, holding a conversation and feeling good despite a headwind… for about the first 7km. At that point we had already turned around at the half way mark, but the wind seemed to have turn around too and was still against us, I was feeling the concrete (did I mention I really hate running on concrete?) and the humidity was building. Most of all though, I was getting tired. I know very well that I can run 10, 11, 12km – but I don’t usually do it at a set pace, and I certainly don’t usually push for faster. So we got to about 8km, and I am not going to lie, I was done. I did not want to do it any more, the concrete was decidedly unpleasant, I had started wheezing a little around the 6-7k mark so I wasn’t as happy to talk, and I got a stitch. I started to drag behind my awesome pace setter bud. Bless this man’s soul, he was very upset about this (on my behalf!) and started talking to me and giving me awesome encouragement – about the wind, about the time, about my pace, about everything. He was like “Come on – we’ve got time! We can crack an hour, we’re nearly there, just a last push, we’re going to crack an hour, you’re going to!” and he wouldn’t let me stop – and I’m super glad, because mentally I haven’t done as much pushing past the wall yet, and it was really hard. We made it! 59 minutes 11 seconds, which is about 5 minutes 40 per kilometre on average. I’m pretty proud of it! It’s a good place to start. Who knows, maybe I can get it down to 55 in a few months? after a little collapse on the grass, I led myself through another little self guided yoga practice and went and got a much needed coffee and lots of food.

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So that’s a pretty active Sunday, right? Done, chill, Netflix, snacks? Hahahaha no. Since the weather was nice and tomorrow was a public holiday, we’d kinda been floating the idea of a hike and overnight camp. I had a lovely planning meeting with a friend over coffee and cherries and terrible terrible jazz, and by the time we wrapped up it was nearing the evening, the weather was holding, and we basically decided to go for it, so we packed our packs, fed the pup, and walked out the back gate and into the wilderness! We’re on the Zealandia fenceline, so basically can walk from that track out into the hills, over to the coast, down and around into the valley, or wherever we want to go! There’s a sneaky little spot we like to camp about 10km from home, so we figured that would be relatively simple mission – walk out, camp just before dark, leave early and be back for brunch. It was an absolutely gorgeous walk.

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North from the Polhill gun emplacements, 21 Jan 2018

We reached our spot in good time and got everything sat up, ate ravenously, and of course I was exhausted so wanted to go straight to sleep. At this point though, we encountered the first problem – it was extremely hot. Three of us (two humans and a heater of a dog) in a two man tent on a humid night is not super fun, and we’d drunk rather more of our ample supply of water than would have been ideal. Problem number two arrived in the form of the wind – it had only been forecast as a 17k northerly, but it turned around and was smashing the tent from the south at more like 6 or 70. So we were incredibly hot, in a tent making an incredible racket and blowing the sides onto us, galloping through our water with the dog basically sitting up, turning in circles, staring at nothing, shivering as a mood… and I had the very tired realisation that tomorrow might be a holiday, but I had three classes to teach and a lot of work to do – I couldn’t afford not to sleep at all! By 2.30am we made the call that walking back and going to bed for at least a morning sleep was better than lying awake for another three hours THEN walking back, so we packed up, got out the torches, and started the march home! The dog thought we had absolutely lost our shit. We eventually made it home, crashed, and slept for as long as we could ignore the birdsong. Perhaps it was ill conceived, but it was certainly an adventure – and now I can tick off “do 30k within 24 hours” and “hike cross country at 3am” off my bucket list – and I never even put those things ON!

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North from the Polhill Gun Emplacements, 5am Monday 22 Jan 2018

 

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Pancakes and regret for breakfast

22. Monday 22 January. OW MY ALL OF ME. Nope. Nope nope. Body survived surprisingly ok, brain just NOT OK oh lord I am not built for not sleeping anymore. Attempted to work at home, failed, dragged my ass to town to try and peer pressure myself into working, ate breakfast at 2pm instead. Made it through dance practice and both classes though! Annnnnd took the opportunity to just drag my mat out into the studio (air conditioning!) and do a little yoga before class and a little yoga after. Since I did my own yoga yesterday rather than the series, I caught up on True Day 19- Thought and Day 20 – Awaken. Thank gawd they were both gentle little stretchy videos rather than active dynamic ones! It definitely felt much better to get moving and stretching, my legs needed it and I’m always surprised by how much better my upper body feels as well, even if I don’t notice tension or soreness beforehand. I definitely did not run today. Noooooope. I did do a little more stretching once I got home though.

23. Tuesday 23 January. STILL KINDA NOPE. I’m certain the day after the day after a sleepless night is the worst – it’s like brain DOMS. I was reasonably productive though, and made some awesome inroads into some new design work despite Photoshop crashing and losing my work at one point. Taught my two classes and headed home for True Day 21 – Finesse. Before I started though, I was chatting with the bae about planks and plank technique and how holding a plank for a minute is always the challenge you get given in workouts so I was like “I wonder if yoga has made that easier?” and held an elbow plank for as long as I felt comfortable – 1 minute 50 secs! I was timed silently so had no idea how long it was, which made that feel even cooler. I breathed through it and felt pretty ace! Then I turned on the video and realised it was a super planky day hahahaha. It was good though, the yoga has made the recovery from my epic adventures much better. I think I’m starting to work out Pigeon as well – it tends to either feel like nothing or COMPLETELY UNBEARABLE but I started to adjust and find where I’m meant to be focusing. It’s such a good stretch, I’m looking forward to being better at it.

24. Wednesday 24 January. I felt like pooooooos today! Ugh! Upset stomach, headachey, so damn tired and it’s SO DAMN HOT. Getting moving was the very last thing I wanted to do, but I went in to work (all packed up for house sitting in town tonight!) and while I didn’t get as much done as I could have, I spent some valuable time with some awesome people and tried my best. I bought cider to get me through the afternoon (the heat is truly unbearable even with fans going) and then realised that the cider I chose was incredibly strong (whoops) and not the best workday drink! It was pretty fun to hang out and solve the world’s problems with my friend who came in to help me work, but combined with not feeling so hot already and also feeling WAY TOO HOT I zoned out on the couch before classes and realised I really just wanted to be asleep. Got through it though, then went out for my fave burgers in town at Laundry since we were in town and free to wander! I didn’t have it in me to do a full yoga practice today, with the headache and tummy I just wanted to be in bed as soon as possible, so I did the 7 minute bedtime yoga instead. Achieved!

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25. Thursday 25 January. I honestly had the best sleep, thank goodness! The bedroom at the house I was sitting is cooler and breezier than the one at home, and I was overdue for a good solid snooze, and the crash was delightful. Feeling much better than yesterday.

I did make one mistake though – I weighed myself. Don’t do that, I highly recommend just… not. Because there’s just no point, you know? I don’t own scales for a reason but I saw them in the house and curiosity got the better of me. PSA everyone (and mostly me): it doesn’t matter what you weigh, ok? I am well aware that my weight is not likely to be criticised by anyone except myself and that I’m speaking from a place of social privilege here; please know this is not a rant about omg like totally being so fat how terrible because a) there’s no problem with being fat and also b) that’s not a descriptor or experience I’m trying to claim. But I went to ballet school, and I have really really confusing gender feels, and it all leaves a messy scribble of a mark on my brain that means I freak out when my weight changes noticeably in either direction. Weighing myself today was a really good reminder: I don’t need to do that ever again, and I am just fine. I like how I fit my clothes right now. I like what my body can do right now. Mental workouts are just as important as physical ones, I think.

Today was a really lovely day. I checked off an absolute monster of a transcription job that’s been hanging over my head, finished off my work with one of my wedding dance couples, covered a class I don’t normally get to do and received so much kindness and goodwill from beautiful people – one friend gave me a whole bag of workout gear since I keep destroying mine, and we had a long overdue catchup about our similar dancelyf struggles, another friend dropped me off the most adorable cat-face bag full of home grown produce to eat. Then I jumped back on the pub quiz horse for 2018 with a magical team of pals, and a round of fantastic songs from when I was 18. I felt super loved!

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ACTIVEWEAR!

 

So yoga time it was! At the end of the day, finally home again, I cranked out True Day 22- Release and Day 23 – Balance. Perfect, delightful and happy! I had a giant smile on my face all the way through release, the whooshing fast paced folds made me really happy. I was pretty thankful for my strong ballet feet too, even though they’re pretty beaten to heck right now with all the running, tap and yoga!

Then I channeled the happy into calm, and found the balances really really nice. I’m almost back on the chaturanga wave, feeling good and figuring out how to stop my elbows popping out (going suuuuuuper far forward on my toes) and finding which muscles need to work harder.

So that’s day 25… Wowee! Here’s to the next 7 of True and then…. more, probably 🙂

 

 

Days of Yoga so far in 2018: 24

Days missed: 1

Kms run or hill walked/hiked so far in 2018: 92

 

 

Do Yoga Every Day of January! Days 16-20

16. Tuesday 16 January. Funnily enough, I did feel like running last night after classes! Since I was downtown and Ella was off having fun with her best bud and provider of treats, I decided to run around the waterfront – which I haven’t done in over a year (right before I broke my foot at the end of 2016). Back then I was pretty happily doing 6.5-7kms cold as a starting point so I thought I’d see how far I could go this time with the hill running. And I learned a few things:

  1. I can go seemingly forever on the flat! I ran 11kms and didn’t get out of breath once. I considered carrying on further, but it was after 3 hours of dancing and my feet were tired, and it was getting dark and I still had to walk the uphill home!
  2. Running on concrete is HARD, I don’t like it.
  3. Running on the flat is REALLY BORING. I never thought I would miss hills! Hills suck! Turns out the flat sucks more.
  4. I have started to intuitively do yoga poses to stretch specific muscles – it’s cool to know what will help specific things and just let my body go there without thinking and stretch it out!
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North from the lagoon, 16 Jan 2018

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Back toward the windmill from Oriental Bay, 16 Jan 2018

Anyway! Today I had a bunch of work stuff to do and super sore feet (running on concrete is horrible and my running shoes are not long for this world) so I mostly focused on teaching, but with planning, classes, a private lesson and an extra hour’s practice I did a lot of dancing. I did True Day 14 – Listen, which was suuuuuper chill and yea kinda nice. It was too bloody hot, mostly, so after leaping around all evening it was good to just have some quiet sitting and stretching. I’m not always great at stopping. I also made some more attempts at Doga.

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I really feel like she’s not taking this seriously

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Yea she hates me.

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Pap snap – my extended triangle pose is getting flexy!

17. Wednesday 17 January. Blerrrrrrgh I did not have a good night – sore hands and arms, sore shoulder, sore sore sore – I’ve got blood blisters under my toenails from running and tap, it’s way too hot, I woke up with a super cricked neck from sleeping with my arm hanging off the bed again because the shoulder pain kept waking me – ugh! Ella clearly felt the same way, she refused to get up for two hours after I did, ate her breakfast, then immediately went back to bed.

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Puppy says no

Awesomely though, my friend was willing to head in to help out with admin stuff (I have a giant list, as always) so I did Day 15 – Believe before heading in to town to meet her. Today’s video was funny, it was only 18 minutes and seemed really simple and familiar while I was doing it, I was like “Oh this is an easy one!” and then afterward my muscles were all shaky haha. Those balances are a little harder than you think they are! Got heaps done on my list, and went and made the decision to spend some of my first pay of the year on a couple of pairs of running shoes (secondhand Nikes from Recycle Boutique, woop! So comfy!) and a bum bag because a) it’s easier to run with simpler access to my phone than my armband and b) they are the coolest thing ever and I feel like now is their fashion moment.

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This is not the one I bought but I kinda regret that decision

Blues class was lovely, and everyone stuck around for social dancing afterward! Me and the bae went to KK Malaysian, walked home (hot + full of curry + uphilllllll = no good) and then just before we went to bed I got snapped, apparently this is what happens if you’ve been doing yoga too much?

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Just chillin’, comfy and stuff with my happy curry belly

18. Thursday 18 January. Nuuu shuuuuuuez were super exciting so I took ’em out for a spin! THEY ARE SO COMFY AND AWESOME! YAY! Did the usual 4k loop. I downloaded the Map My Run app but I keep forgetting to turn it on until halfway through. So I felt really confident after realising that the flat run was so much easier with all the hill running, and it was nice to have my confidence confirmed – yep, I only really count one of the hills as a hill now! Must be time to amp it up.

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18 Jan 2018

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This has appeared at the end of my run – cute!

Gotta say I did a bit of a freak out when I got back and saw that True Day 16 – Self Love is 41 minutes long, it just seemed excessively long for self love! But I appreciated the time, and care, and it felt a lot quicker than it was. So many twists! Twists are the BEST, especially with how sore everything has been feeling. I am so terrible at half moon, but it’s my new mission. I’m finding not being able to do chaturanga quite frustrating, because it was such an accomplishment – I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not going backwards, I’m looking after an injury. Still, grrrrrr. Went out in the evening to a Star Trek quiz at Photonflux, and our team (mostly thanks to my super knowledgeable partner, and zero thanks to me) got second! Ella had a lot of fans, and was super into the actor playing Captain Kirk – until he changed out of costume, and suddenly she couldn’t care less. Hilarious! She knows what she wants, and it’s nothing less than apple slices, pats, and men in uniform. She also immediately tried to eat the Tribble we won.

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Ella gives no fucks

19. Friday 19 January. Ella was throwing a sulk in the morning so off running we went immediately. I decided to add an extra km to the loop by heading down to the Zealandia entrance first and then up – it’s another kilometre of hills at the front end of the run. And honestly, it was a shitshow! I’ve been listening to Nancy as I run since I finished Crimetown, and it keeps making me laugh out loud or start to cry as I run and walk around. It’s incredible, I can’t overstate it, listen to this podcast. Well, as I started my run with all the new exciting hills, the new episode began – all about the Pulse shootings in Orlando. So I basically sobbed my way up 2km of hills, out loud, with no one around. It was surprisingly cathartic. On my way back down from the gun emplacements my hair escaped by snapping the hair tie of my newly achieved man-bun (such proud, so wow, very masc) and flopped all over my face, and then I got incredibly violent hiccups all the way home. Ha! Kind of hilarious really.

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Manlyyyyy

 

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No amount of man bun can contain this

The run itself felt good though! New loop 🙂

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19 Jan 2018

True Day 17 – Charisma was cool aside from the chaturanga frustration. I also realised how weak my right knee is, I find bow pose super tricky just because I can’t really push back with my right foot without pain. I am hoping that it’s something I can strengthen. I went back to the physio and I’m doing well, but my pain scale is completely out of whack – I’m  rating it low, still doing yoga, improving my range of motion with the exercises etc, but even with painkillers it’s keeping me awake/waking me up at night so she’s going to send me for a scan to check I haven’t done something more major internally. The funniest thing was we started looking at some simple push up stuff to strengthen it, and I mentioned the discomfort I get when my tendons pop over the bones in my elbows at 90 degrees (because I’ve always assumed that everyone’s do that, and everyone just sucks it up and does push ups anyway….) and she was like… “WHAT?” and I showed her (she felt my arm as I did it) and she was like  “OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT, NO, THAT IS NOT GOOD I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT IS!” and when I said “So I’m a mutant!” she laughed and confirmed. She said it might be an ulnar subluxation, and I did a little research and found it may also be something called Snapping Triceps so that is all fairly hilarious and I’m going to find out more. And try to figure out if there is any way to do press ups without it happening.

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Actual picture of my triceps RN

Oh and I did my first comedy show since the festival in May! Maybe not back on the horse but… in the paddock? Drank the gin, hung out with the friends, had an awesome night.

20. Saturday 20 January. I have officially made it further than I did in the first 30 Day challenge. Yea! Two thirds! Still here! Feeling good! Despite the late night comedy show and shenanigans I had made dance practice plans for 8.30am so up I got and down I went! It was awesome. I miss just practicing and choreographing and putting the work in. I’ve decided to do The Honest 10 tomorrow morning (And maybe a hike/camp) in the evening so today is a day of food and naps rather than running. Aaaaaand YOGA! True Day 18 – Surrender begins with Adriene asking if we’re ok to work hard today and, TBH, yea! I am so excited by how much stronger I am. I can hold those planks no worries, I can do those side planks and not only hold them but do all the twists, I’m always choosing to go to full rather than half plank, and I don’t think I have ever, in my LIFE (even when I was a ballet dancer) laid my whole chest along my legs in seated forward fold. 20 days, mates! It’s a big commitment, but it’s not even that long. It’s pretty unbelievable that things change so fast.  Here’s to the next 10 (and 10k in the morning)!

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What is this

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Ella is not really that impressed soz

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Ella Selfie

Do Yoga Every Day of January! Days 11-15

11. Thursday 11 January. Ahhhh Thursday, which is kind of my Saturday since it’s the first day in over a week with no crisis to manage or classes to teach! I flopped. I was wrecked. Last night was a really lovely end to the big week of drama and getting started – it poured with rain, I taught a lovely blues class, went for delicious Korean food with my partner, everything was good – until I got home and my abdominal pain ramped up for no real reason. I guess now is the point in the blog where I mention that I’m chronically ill? If you haven’t known me that long you can read the whole story (and some other stories) here. So that wasn’t great, and I woke up this morning still feeling like my lower torso was filled with broken glass, and my right shoulder just…. hurting. Just to make life easier, the delivery people who dropped off our new fridge managed to take it to our neighbour’s house instead of ours, so after a long period of trudging about in the pouring rain I eventually found the fridge sitting at their door – which is exactly halfway up their giant flight of concrete stairs. I did not attempt to move it. Ella did not attempt to move at all, preferably ever again, if the rain was going to keep happening. So we mostly chilled out on the couch, me doing some work and her pretending not to exist for the day. Later on I took her for a walk down to the shops and back just to get some exercise and fresh air (and dog food, which she tells me is important) when the rain stopped a little, but no run for us today!

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No.

I jumped on the mat for Day 9 of True – Open though, and that was pretty good. It just seemed pretty classic and simple and stretchy. Kinda nice to get to the point where I feel like a yoga workout is classic or routine – I don’t have to watch as much, just listen and focus on myself and how I extend and change my own movement. Yoga definitely helps with my pain levels in general, but it was evident by the end of today that my shoulder is not happy – it pops painfully when I lift it and aches down my bicep and lat. Will get it checked out tomorrow.

12. Friday 12 January. My shoulder just got worse overnight, my partner had a look and we found it was kinda lumpy and swollen on the front, and the most comfortable way for me to sleep was lying face down at the very edge of the bed so my arm could hang straight down off the side. Which was NOT VERY COMFORTABLE and I didn’t sleep very much. I headed in to see the physio, who thinks I’ve probably sprained my bicep at the top or something nearby. Got a few exercises to go with, and permission to do any yoga/exercises that don’t cause pain – sweet! So of course I immediately saw that my mate needed cover in his bar for the night and agreed to work until 2am. Ha! I went home, skipped the run again, but gave yoga a go with a few adjustments. True Day 10, Detox, was a nice little practice to do in the evening before heading back out to work. I skipped the chaturangas and chilled in child’s pose a lot, and adjusted the twists (super twisty day!) so as not to put pressure on my right shoulder.

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North from my yoga mat, 12 Jan 2018

I’m realising I have a lot more comfort and ease in my body, at least while I’m actively on the mat practicing. All the belly breathing, awareness of where my movements come from, small conscious self corrections, and it’s so hot that I’m mostly just stripping to my underwear so I don’t sweat on everything… basically I’m hanging out with my tummy a lot. I see it hanging out when I go into downward dog or roll up to mountain, I feel it rest on my legs in low lunge and child’s pose, I push it out and pull it in and use it to twist around. I feel like I’m getting to know it as a person. I’ve always felt a bit weird about it, but I like this. Hey, tum.

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Classic bathroom mirror selfie tum

My adjustments obviously stretched out my shoulder without aggravating it because I got through the night fine. I haven’t worked in a bar in at least 10 years, and having been actively avoiding people for at least the last two years I wasn’t sure how well my socially anxious introvert self would cope. But it was fine! I rediscovered why I loved it the first time around; I like being in bars and crowds when I have a clear job to do and a clear way to control my interactions (being busy, keeping moving, having expected script guidelines etc). Plus being way shorter than most people helps, because I can move through crowds and not make eye contact unless I actively want to. I danced to a lot of Queen, did mostly glassy stuff and had a great time so that was neat.

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This is the only picture I took, over gin at 3am

13. Saturday 13 January. It was too hot to sleep in! So I didn’t! Hahahaha. Ahhhhh. I’m definitely not 18 anymore. But basically my day was taken up by stressing about playing a music gig that night. I haven’t done comedy since the festival in May, my band is on hiatus, and I have probably only played an original just-music set once in the last 4 or so years? Freaky. I felt weird about practicing because it was hot, I could hear my neighbours through the window and didn’t want them to hear me so I was all quiet and barely trying, felt like it could easily be a disaster…. and combined with that and some transcription work I’m chipping away at, I ran out of time a little… so I went for my run up my usual loop, and holy crap yea it’s getting noticeably easier. I’ve realised I used to count three big hills, and the last two times I’ve been like cool three big hills, each bigger than the last… and I count two, and wait for the third, but then I’ve already finished. I think my brain has stopped counting the first hill as a hill. Yesssss! Ella had her first chance to chase a rabbit off lead when she scared one out of a bush, and completely screwed it up. She couldn’t find the rabbit as it ran off right in front of her or even track the rabbit’s scent afterward, so she’s as formidable as ever.

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North from the Polhill gun emplacements, 13 Jan 2018

When I got back though, I made the executive decision that I didn’t have time to do yoga without time stress about the gig. I made peace with it, and let it go for the day. And the gig was wonderful, so many beautiful friends came, I drank my first tequila and coke in a very long time as promised (it was horrible), hung out and chatted, listened to awesome music, and just… had the most lovely time. No ragrets!

14. Sunday 14 January. Since the pupperoo was still off having her sleepover, we decided to treat ourselves to a pancake breakfast at Americanos, an awesome jaunt around Moore Wilsons, and a Star Trek Scavenger hunt at the Sci Fi bar PhotonFlux (All in support of Summer Star Trek, which everyone in Wellington should go and see because it’s the best thing ever!). It was a pretty perfect Sunday with bae. I wish I had photos but I barely even touched my phone, which I like even better. In between adventures I headed out to the deck to do early evening yoga and catch up on Days 11 and 12 of True – Soften and Centre. How perfect after my little Ode to my Belly the other day! Soften was just that – slow, soft, sweet. Centre was a little trickier for me, mainly because of my scar tissue knee – I really struggle to maintain strength when I’m resting on that knee in a lunge and trying to move around it! It was cool to realise that, and start to focus harder on support from other places in my body – like my happy little tum. Doing the two videos back to back was nearly an hour of yoga but it didn’t feel like it at all. I didn’t run today, but walking the puppy home from town I ran up most of the hilly parts to test my hypothesis that I find running up hills easier than walking. It’s mostly true, but being full of dinner, wearing jeans and boots, and it being bloody hot didn’t help so I think this needs more testing! I feel tired and content though, this Sunday night. Started thinking that perhaps I should do a different challenge each month this year – Yoga January, February Album Writing Month, March… who knows? It’d be interesting to see what I can do in a year, a month at a time.

15. Monday 15 January. IT’S TOO HOT I HATE IT. But love it but hate it. It’s one of those days where you wake up feeling like you were up til 4am drinking moonshine but you weren’t (you were lying in bed reading before midnight) and now it’s Monday morning work time. I decided to do yoga before my brain could kick in and tell me it was a bad idea. True day 13 – Strength and Harmony sounds like an early 2000s R&B album. Adriene is a SNEAKY SNEAKER with those horrible side hip dips and surprise crunches, but hey, what was I saying about getting in touch with my tum? I’m beginning to realise that at some point I will need to do an actual class, with an actual teacher who can look at my form, but for now I feel like I’m making adjustments every time, slowly getting more conscious about how I line up and stack and extend. Once I was nice and sweaty I decided to push my luck and see if Ella would be as cool as this dog.

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An attempt was made, treats were given

 

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…she was mostly in it for the belly rubs

And I wandered down to work (I require a temperature drop of at least five degrees before I consider running – maybe tonight after classes). Had my follow up physio appointment and the verdict is that I’ve sprained a tendon at the top of my bicep and a tendon in my rotator cuff, but my exercises are helping and it’s no big deal just a bit uncomfortable so I’ll be spiky ball and foam rolling for a while! Thankfully yoga still feeling ok.

So! These past five days have been a bit more shambolic and less routine focused, but I’ve had a lot of fun. Halfway mark! It’s all downhill from here… (except for the running, that is definitely the opposite).

Days of Yoga so far in 2018: 14

Days missed: 1

Kms run or walked so far in 2018: 42

Do Yoga Every Day of January! Days 6-10

6. Saturday 6 January. Yesterday, all empowered from my run and yoga I went to work and taught some private lessons (it’s wedding dance season, so many happies were shared), then met up with my business partner to make some plans and decisions. Solidly happy with ideas, contingencies and action plans, I headed home – only to receive yet another phone call of calamity at 10pm. I took a deep breath, ranted slightly, laughed, then blasted Marilyn Manson through my headphones and got to work trying to fix the situation until 2am.

Today, I woke up sooooooooore. DOMS from the run wasn’t as bad as expected, but the tendons behind my right knee felt a bit fragile (my right knee is mostly scar tissues, so lots of odd compensations happen when I run. My left instep was also feeling a bit tight, and surprisingly the worst stiff muscles were in my neck and shoulders – which probably has a lot less to do with running and yoga than it has to do with hunching over a computer listening to rage music and cursing until 2am. I decided to make today my rest day from running, and my partner and I walked the dog up around a gentle 1.5km loop of bush and fenceline instead. I also decided to make today my rest day from my food plan so that I could have a couple of much needed drinks, but surprisingly even with those I haven’t exceeded my calorie limits! I think my experimentation with low GI recipes is paying off in the fullness-to-calorie ratio. But anyway! I worked a lot today, though I desperately didn’t want to, and I got a lot done. Things are looking more manageable. I lay on the couch a lot, ate some tasty food, drank some bourbon which is quite a novelty for me these days, and did a lot of writing and organising. I actually left yoga until quite late! But today was Day 4 – Floor, and my sore creaky little body was pretty thrilled with that idea. The techniques being talked about are really interesting to me as a dancer – working with the floor or against the floor, using the floor to hold you up and balance or finding those things in your own body instead, keeping connection with your body as a whole rather than isolating parts – and I appreciate having the time and space to play with the ideas. The downward breath, pelvic floor and sit-bone connection were really practical, interesting things to experiment with and find new physical ideas. Plus, I got the giggles at the beginning at all the random stuff Adriene was saying which was delightful.

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Ella was not in the mood for coaching

7. Sunday 7 January.  Back on the running train! Nothing was feeling too bad this morning, so I headed back off up the fenceline track for the 4km loop via the gun emplacements and Highbury Fling. It was bloody hot but feels like it’s getting shorter every time. There are three big hills, and each one is progressively more evil…. but there are only three. Here is the view across the harbour today (full disclosure: not exactly the same spot I usually take it from, because we met a family with adorable children having a picnic there and if I had stayed too close the children and Ella would have formed their own pack of weird quasi-wolf kids and gone to live in the wild together, such was the love between them, so I had to move away).

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North from the Polhill gun emplacements 7 Jan 2018

When I got back and started yoga (True Day 5 – High) I was feeling pretty tired and a bit distracted, which really came to a head mid practice when I realised that it was the middle of the day and instead of eating anything I’d had a cup of tea then run up hills in full sun and gone straight onto yoga. Terrible idea! So there were some mental wobbles going on. BUT! High was really cool. It took patience and focus to really engage with the conscious exhales, but once I got in the zone they were really helpful. I definitely felt pretty ace afterward – as I raced to the kitchen to finally grab food and coffee to get rid of the shakes!

8. Monday 8 January. The day of truth (lolllll see what I did there). Today was the day I would find out whether the weekend of work at all hours, sleepless nights and a hell of a lot of screaming death metal on full volume had paid off and pulled us from the precipice of bad luck disasters (AKA the day classes at the studio started back).  So I got up early, I learned from yesterday’s mistakes and ate breakfast, then set off for my run to calm the nerves. I think yesterday’s practice stuck with me, and instead of trying to run up the hills as fast as possible just to get them over with and getting super exhausted and puffed, I decided to go as slowly as possible (while keeping my footfall bpm high) and try stretching out my breaths. It was really cool to play with, trying to control the breaths (especially the exhales) the way Adriene had been talking about, while running up hills! I found that four footfalls per inhale and exhale was too short and settled on five which was a nice weird number to concentrate on.  I’ve always heard you should run in 3/4 time to even out the stress over both sides, but maybe I’ll have to switch to 5/4 until I get fancy enough for 6/8. Music and running, it’s MATHS! Who knew.

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North from the Polhill gun emplacements 8 Jan 2018

I did the same fenceline/gun emplacements/Highbury Fling loop, got back and was like yay today’s True practice is only 21 minutes, how aweso- OH SHIT Adriene lied to me, she called it “Kindle” but of course, it’s day 6, so it could only ever have been one thing… SIX! PACK! ABS! I was already committed. It was too late. I crushed those fucking 21 minutes and sweated and swore. I like that some things are easier, and I guess I like that some things will always always suck. Anyway. With running and yoga done, off I went to face the music… and it worked. All the work worked. Thank god for that. Let’s just call 1-7 January a false start and say 2018 starts here, ok? You have to count in to 8 before you start dancing anyway. Sweet. Glad we’re agreed.

9. Tuesday January 9th. So yesterday was not only run and abs day, it was also the first day back teaching classes, and by the time I’ve run, yoga’d, walked all the way down to work, taught two energetic solo classes and walked all the way back up the hill home, plus the nervous tension of hoping like hell everything would hold… well, this picture of Ella once we got home pretty much sums it up.

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I was totally fubar-ed, so was the pup, so I drank a glass of wine, had a shower, kinda slumped for a while then went to bed. When I got up this morning and asked if Ella wanted to get up and go for a run, this was the reaction:

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And I was like GURL SAME so I got us both brekkie and we sat in bed and she snored while I did admin for the morning. She got her walk though, my workmate and I took her for our old tradition of a dog park stand up walking meeting, and she played very happily with other more giant dogs and ran herself silly.  SO! No run for me today, just a casual stroll around a dog park. I practiced, planned and taught my two classes tonight though, and they went great. For some reason (probably tiredness) my brain packed it in and although tonight our classes were full just like last night’s were I somehow decided that maybe we hadn’t succeeded after all. Who knows, I think I’m just a very tired very stressed human.

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Willis St in the rain

Anyway, I did not feel like doing yoga tonight when I got home (and getting home at 9.30-10pm every night because of classes does NOT help). But I huffed and puffed and got on the mat and I can’t say today was my most mindful, most technically good or most pleasant practice, but I practiced. Did it! Got there! Held tree pose rock steady on both sides with eagle arms and then a backward stretch. Touched my nose to my knees. Realised my hips are way more flexible than they used to be. Pretty good, even on zonked days. Wine, salad, and early to bed 🙂

10. Wednesday 10 January. The day after no run is always hardest, it’s so easy to be like welllllllll it was just FINE not running yesterday, I still don’t feel like it today… but we went (after I had stocked myself up with delicious creamed rice and fruit and coffee). Up up up in the rain which felt delightful, the controlled breathing wasn’t working so well this time but I did my best to focus and apparently it worked because we were suddenly at the top way sooner than I expected and I didn’t feel like we’d done all the hills yet?! But we had, and were rewarded with spectacular city views.

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North from the Polhill gun emplacements 10 Jan 2018

The run back was a piece of cake. I finished the last episode of season 1 of Crimetown, which has been a really awesome running companion. Looking forward to season two, and APPARENTLY A MUSICAL?!

Day 8 of True: Salve was exactly my speed today! Very thankful for both the stretch and the rest, and of course the hug. That crossed arms hands on knees back curve stretch is the most incredible thing it felt AWESOME.

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And with that? Day 10!

Days of Yoga so far in 2018: 10

Kms run or walked so far in 2018: 37

Do Yoga Every Day of January! Days 1-5

It’s 2018, and the only resolution I could really think of was “DO THE FUCKING YOGA”  and “RUN ON THE HILLS” so I am doing the fucking yoga and running on the hills. I’m also back on a vague training diet, but that’s a little more… lackadaisical. Thankfully there is an awesome group of other peeps in my friend circle also doing the fucking yoga this month – we’re moral supporting each other to do it every day of January. I’m gonna keep a running (lol) record here, but not every day – I think that would be tiresome. I’ll do five days at a time! So:

  1. Monday 1st January. Coincidentally I was up to Day 18 of the 30 Days of Yoga challenge as 2018 began, so I did that! I wrote about it (and Day 19) in my 30 Days of Yoga blog entry so head there to read about it if you’re interested. I also did a 3.5km out and back run on Highbury Fling.
  2. Tuesday 2nd January. I did Day 19, so check the link above for a rundown. I didn’t run, but did a 5km Zealandia fence walk/bush walk on the Karori side with a friend and my lovely little dog Ella, who also thinks she is my yoga coach.

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  3. Wednesday 3rd January. For me and my New Zealand buddies, this was the day we could access Yoga with Adriene’s new New Year series True. Sticking to my running resolution, I decided to bite the bullet and run up the Zealandia fenceline track to the Polhill gun emplacements and back in a loop instead of doing the Highbury Fling both ways. Unlike the serene, bush sheltered gentle Highbury Fling track, the fenceline track is rocky, horrible, and rolls up and down like a roller coaster from the Zealandia entrance all the way up to the wind turbine. It’s also completely unshaded, so it’s hot as all heck up there! I made it though. Thunderstorms were forecast for that evening, and I sat on the hill by the gun emplacements with Ella and watched the lightning flash in the storm clouds across the harbour.

    North from the Polhill gun emplacements 3 Jan 2018

    We got back and I took my yoga mat out to the deck to start off True. Day 1, Motive, was lovely – from the great big hug it starts off with (which I really needed) to the slow, gentle focus on fluidity and core. I took my first pictures since day 10 of the 30 Day Challenge (since I was outside and there was still no sign of the thunderstorm coming closer!) and holy crap – even with the giant break over December, there’s noticeable improvement! My downward dog is longer and way more flexible in the shoulders! My chaturanga looks good! I can’t believe it.

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    yoga chaturanga

    Coach Ella

    Coach Ella

  4. Thursday 4th January. I did the same 4km fenceline/gun emplacements/Highbury Fling loop run with Ella again, and it was way easier the second time. Who knew! Ran back as the rain started, and went straight to the mat for day 2 of True – Trust. Still really enjoying the slow, focused pace of this series so far! Felt super good after the run and the yoga, then life absolutely crashed my party with a horrible news phone call dumping a bucketload of stress on my head, and I had a full on panic attack. My partner is awesome, and immediately covered me in a blanket, put a cup of tea in one hand and a strong drink in the other, and watched documentaries with me until I could breathe again. Then I realised that what I really wanted to do to make myself feel better was… yoga. So I got out my mat, and gently did Yoga for Anxiety then put myself to bed. It helped. I’m super glad to know that at some lizard level I feel like yoga will help me, and it’s something I can turn to when I need it.
  5. Friday 5th January. After yesterday I woke up with the busiest saddest of brains, so decided to go for my run early instead of at night. And it was hot, and I was exhausted, and slow, but I got to the gun emplacements and decided to keep going anyway – all the way up to the wind turbine, and then back down around my usual route, 6kms of horrendous hills in all.
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    South from the Wind Turbine

    I’ve decided to take a picture from the same spot every time I run there this year, to watch the weather change.

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    North from Polhill gun emplacements 5 Jan 2018

    I got back drenched in sweat, but with a clearer head. Day 3 of True – Stretch was a nice way to come back to earth (literally) after such a full on run.

    How Ella feels after running with me

    I can feel my tummy starting to engage more intentionally with everything. The downpour that’s been threatening for days finally hit as I finished, and I headed in to work feeling calm in the rain.

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There we are – the first 5 days of 2018, with yoga and hill running galore. I’m looking forward to the rest.

Days of Yoga so far in 2018: 5

Kms run or walked so far in 2018: 22.5

30 Days of Yoga: Days 11-20

If you’re reading this, I’ve made it to day 20! I wrote about days 1-10 of the challenge already, but since I didn’t start the blog until day 10 I had to rely on my memory. From here, though, I’ll write a little bit each day and hit publish on day 20.

  • Day 11 I had a really upset stomach again so I think I need to get a little bit more careful with food for a while to make sure I’m not accidentally glutening. Had a lovely time at the pub quiz with friends, and got home very hungry but was an adult and decided to do yoga first. So happy I did! It was wonderful! Day 11’s video was super slow and stretchy and breathy, and every single Chaturanga I did was controlled and slow with elbows in all the way to the ground! I achieved my goal! So now I guess I need to focus on holding it steady in low plank, then eventually pushing up again. I also got my elbows to the ground and chilled in lizard pose for the first time, but the left side is easier than the right. I can’t believe how much my body is changing. Afterward I felt freakin’ awesome (and much less hungry) so I ate apple slices with peanut butter and had a great sleep.
  • Day 12 I was still feeling wicked after yesterday, so I got up and did a bunch of chores then put coffee on to brew while I did my yoga to start the day off. Awesome choice – today was Yoga for Spinal Health, and lying in bed beforehand I was really sore in my left shoulder/neck where I tweaked something gardening a few weeks ago. After the practise the pain went away. I managed to step my left foot up to a lunge in one go for the first time, and kept on with the awesome controlled Chaturangas. My tree and warrior 3 are pretty solid when my left leg is the base, but harder and wobblier on the right. Good incentive to keep working on it.
  • Day 13 was a killer. I got up early to go to a bootcamp with my friend – so after half an hour of running, squats, and lifting weights my body was feeling pretty sore – I came straight home and did the yoga video to hopefully prevent some of the pain to come! I was really glad I did, I could feel it breathing a little life back into my hamstrings and glutes… and then I undid all my hard work by spending the next 7 or so hours digging out a solid clay garden bed and planting carrots. I was proud, but complete jelly by the end of the day!
  • Day 14 I was definitely feeling it. I had to get up early again and was out all day doing a photoshoot for a project next year, so by the time I got home I was just wrecked. It must have been the combo of the physical tiredness from yesterday, the mental tiredness of the day, and the sudden crushing weight of life stresses that come after me on a Sunday night, but I was sad and weary, and decided to do it tomorrow.
  • Day 15, honestly, was no better. I had hayfever so badly overnight that I barely slept, had to cover my face in a cold wet flannel and woke up feeling like I had the flu and had probably also been run over by a bus. My knuckles were all swollen and painful to move, I had a sore throat and the sniffles, and I just felt sad and anxious and awful. I stayed at home and made soup and apple crumble to try and pull myself up, but yoga was off the cards.
  • So today, Day 16, I felt very guilty. I also still felt like total shit. Pretty sure I’m having a depressive episode along with a fibro flare – basically, struggling. I made the choice though: I was going to do the yoga even if it was the only thing I managed. So I started with Day 14, reasoning it was only 17 minutes long. I really struggled with those 17 minutes – I felt like a loser for skipping two days, my body was still really sore, with my joints screaming and my muscles refusing to loosen up. I got through it, hated it, and got off the mat. Then, I thought, well, I have more to do. Maybe I’ll look and see what Day 15 looks like. I sat on the mat, clicked on the video, and read this description: “Today would be the perfect day to commit to staying present. You have made it this far – stay in the moment and reconnect to your intentions. This 30 min yoga sequence is great for anxiety and stress relief.” So I said “fuck it, I need that” and started it up. I’m really glad. Doing the second video made my body start to come back, like I could feel it a little bit again. It still wasn’t easy, I’m still in pain and need to be careful but by the end I felt a little looser and a little more free in my movement. The calm lasted for about half an hour in my day of numb worry and sadness, but I’m really grateful for it. Just before bed I decided to do Day 16 (again, only 17 minutes). I held my nose to my knees in forward fold, and held up side plank on both sides without any problem, went “WTF?!” and here I am, back on track with this thing.

I wasn’t back on track with this thing. Sadly the flare just got worse, and after this date (December 5th) I had to stop for a while because I simply couldn’t bear weight on my wrists. It was pretty miserable, I was pretty miserable, it wasn’t a good time. A lot of other stuff went wrong in my life at the end of 2017, and when I had to stop with the yoga challenge because of my body I really felt like everything was a failure and out of my control. I’d been enjoying it so much, it was so good for me, and I couldn’t do it. December continued, Christmas arrived, and I knew I needed to get over the feeling that I had failed, and just start again. I made the decision that it would be ok. So,

  • Day 17, December 31st. I got out the mat and just picked up where I left off. Adriene didn’t seem to mind that I’d had a 26 day gap. I noticed that I wasn’t quite as strong or balanced as I had been, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and it felt quite wonderful. I’m also trying to get regular running  (or at least walks) back in so I did a short but steep 1.5km Zealandia fence run before the yoga too.
  • And funnily enough, Day 18 coincided with the first day of 2018. There’s a group of friends who are providing moral support for each other to do yoga every day of January which is awesome, I think the community spirit will help me a lot! But flip remind me never to stop for a month again, my triceps were SO DAMN SORE after yesterday! Did a 3.5km run out and back on Highbury Fling, hard in the muggy air.
  • All that positivity, and today I had a total mental health crash – like, a crying over cold pizza and lying on the couch in the foetal position watching crappy horror on Netflix crash. I felt like I couldn’t achieve anything at all, let alone a run and yoga. Thankfully as the day cooled down and the evening set in I was able to meet up with a friend and we ended up doing a 5km bush walk with the dog, up a lot of hills to the Karori side of the Zealandia fence. It was lovely and I got back so much happier, got out my mat, and was surprised to find Day 19 was a gentle, breath focused day. I swear it’s spooky how they’re so often exactly what I need. I feel much better and calmer now. I’m glad to be back.

Depending on when Yoga with Adriene’s new 30 day challenge True drops in our weird future timezone I may skip to that series so that I can do the videos alongside my friends. So instead of publishing on day 20, I’m going to publish now – both a little earlier and a little later than anticipated.

I can’t wait to do more yoga this year!

30 Days of Yoga: Days 1 – 10

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It may be a bit late to start talking about yoga 10 days into the 30 day challenge, but I didn’t set up the blog until day 9!

Quick rundown:

  • I started doing yoga in September, after having done it only a handful of times ever and self-identifying as “terrible at yoga”. I don’t actually remember why.  It just seemed like the right thing to do right then, so I did.
  • I’m very very time and money poor, so classes aren’t an option, but Youtube is a wonder of the modern world and I found heaps of cool stuff to try at home
  • Friends recommended Yoga with Adriene for being an awesome channel with minimal hippy vibes and a really kind approach to bodies with pain issues, so I tried a few videos and wholeheartedly agree – Adriene rules!
  • I was doing 30 minutes – 1 hour each day, just choosing videos based on what I felt like, it tapered off during late October (which is the annual hell-month/actual hell-mouth of my job), and I picked it back up mid November
  • 10 days ago (November 20th) I decided to go hard and do a more formal schedule of practice with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge, and I’ve just completed day 10.

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This is how it has gone so far:

  • Day 1-3 felt really good and chill, a nice way to ease into it and get used to doing some of the same movements every day. I set the goal on day one that the only thing I really wanted to achieve in 30 days was to be able to lower through Chaturanga Dandasana (the totally bananas-level hard thing where you lower slowly from plank with your elbows pulled in).
  • Day 4 I got glutened and felt miserable, worked until super late at the Music Quiz, had one two many ciders, walked all the way home and fell asleep on the couch, so I missed my practice that day. It’s amazing how even missing a single day (combined with not feeling so well) made me way less keen to do it the next day! But I DID IT.
  • Day 5 I did both days’ videos back to back. Thankfully, Adriene is a hero and has paced her videos for people like me, who start off racing out of the gate then realise we’re tired and grumpy and want to go home. Day 4 and 5 practices were 20 minutes and 16 minutes each, which made them feel achievable in one go and got me back on track. I felt a lot less tired and grumpy afterward!
  • Day 6 had me freaked out because it was called “6 pack abs”! Why?! I still wasn’t feeling well, but I tried my partner’s trick of just getting the yoga mat out and leaving it there until it makes more sense to do the thing than leave the mat sitting there unused. I survived! Surprisingly, though, 6 pack abs did not materialise. But it did prove to me I was well enough to do an overnight hike/camp, so we took off into the mountains outside our back garden for the night.
  • Day 7 we got up early (since we were in a tiny tent on a sea cliff) and I would have been tempted to drag my mat out onto the hilltop (I slept the night on it) and do my practice right there, but we were completely fogged in and couldn’t see anything so we just packed up and set off home. Day 7 was probably my wobbliest day, because it included some side planks which my upper body is just not ready for – and probably because I was super duper tired from a week of yoga and hiking. I did dream that Adriene and Taylor Swift were secretly in a relationship and planning to get married though, to which my partner replied “… it’s like you stole that straight from the brain of a 10 year old girl….”
  • Day 8 was an absolutely beautiful stunning day, so I took the dog for a run and decided to do my yoga outside on the deck when I got back. The day 8 practice was a really slow, meditative one, and doing it in the cool evening air with tui and kaka squabbling overhead was really calming and refreshing.  My heels touched the ground during downward dog!
  • Day 9 I got over ambitious, and decided I would do morning AND evening yoga! Rookie mistake. It was lovely to get up and do a morning yoga workout, and I had a really productive day afterward but by the time I had worked all day, taught classes, waited for the bus and got home at 10 I didn’t want to do another round – so while I did yoga, I didn’t do the official day 9 practise.

Soooooo today is Day 10, and I decided to do the videos for both 9 and 10. I was really friggin’ tired this morning. I wanted to do the day 9 video early before work but I couldn’t face it and dragged myself out of bed later than intended so I had to race to work (gardening). I was pottering around this afternoon, slowly doing admin stuff and feeling blergh in the heat, craving sugar and being generally unproductive and decided – screw it, I’ll do them now and wake myself up. So I did! And I feel 100 times better! It’s really really hot today, so I took my shirt off and sweated a lot and achieved one Chaturanga that lowered all the way down with control (and a lot that didn’t), and found my (short) downward dog with my heels down and got my nose to my knees in forward fold and I’m really excited. I’m definitely in less pain through my back and shoulders/neck, I feel stronger and can already see I am bendier. I feel like I am achieving things, slowly and happily.

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